If you are an asset manager considering a GPS tracking solution for your assets or mobile machinery one of the first things you will probably consider is the cost. There’s no doubt it’s an important question, but bear in mind it should not be asked in isolation. You should also consider the potential return on investment (ROI).
The cost comprises three basic elements, the tracking device itself, the subscription which covers the device communicating with the servers via the mobile data network, the mapping and ongoing support, and third the installation. There may be additional add-ons depending upon the tracking system you choose.
Buy, Lease or Rent?
Have you decided whether you want to buy, lease or rent? Each option has its advantages but the choice will depends on what would work best for your business. Leasing or renting asset tracking devices eliminates large upfront costs because you will be bundling the fees for both the device and the subscription together spread over the life of the contract. However, this will result in the total cost being higher than if you purchased the devices in the first place. Leasing or eenting may also only be available for volume purchases.
Purchasing the device involves an up front cost. However, you may find that when you buy devices you can attract discounts based on the volume you need. Ongoing subscription fees are still required for purchased equipment, although these are likely to be lower than combined device and subscription cost for lease or rental charges. You also have the advantage of owning the equipment.
Device and Subscription Charges and Data Use
Typical purchase costs for a feature rich asset tracking device range from £250 to £800. Leasing and rental costs will depend upon the provider, his finance arrangements and your credit rating.
Every tracking device is connected to the provider’s tracking system via the mobile phone network which enables the device to communicate with the tracking provider’s servers and vice versa. There is also the licencing of the mapping, such as Google maps, the cost of sending alert SMS messages to you should anything untoward happen and the ongoing support. All this is wrapped up in a single subscription. Most tracking providers charge an annual subscription ranging form £105 pa to £230 pa. Some will offer a monthly alternatie but this will depend upon the number of subscriptions. Monthly subscriptions typically start at £10 pm.
There are providers who offer service at lower prices, but it’s important to bear in mind that with GPS tracking you get what you pay for. The implementation of any business software calls for you to make sure it is going to solve whatever challenges you face while providing the best, most reliable and accurate data. The more mobile data you need – i.e. the more frequent call in ‘pings’ – the higher your costs are likely to be. Also, if you are going to need European or Worldwide coverage, then costs tend to be slightly higher than just in the UK.
The rule of thumb is don’t be fooled into selecting a system based on its being the cheapest. Some cheap systems bump up their subscription costs with chargeable add ons, whereas others – ourselves included – offer all inclusive plans. You need to be sure that the tracking device will stand up to its intended tasks – i.e. deter theft, help recover stolen assets, improve safety and reduce operating costs – and that your service contract is transparent to keep costs under control.
The majority of GPS tracking providers employ electrical engineers and contractors to install the GPS device into the asset.
There is an added cost for this facility. Typically expect to pay between £75 and £100 for each device installation. This takes approximately 45 mins – one hour to install each device. Some companies provide customers with installation guides along with support and troubleshooting assistance if you choose to manage your own installations (although there will be no installation guarantee in this case).
However, to ensure installations are carried out correctly initially, it is advisable to get the provider to install the tracking device. The cost of installation is relatively minimal and the benefits far outweigh doing this yourself.
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